Combine a dedicated Clarkson instructor with a successful Clarkson graduate, add an eager Clarkson student, and you’ve created the perfect storm for a career.
Mallory Fisher graduated in 2016 with a degree in business innovation and entrepreneurship; she’ll graduate in the spring of 2018 with her MBA. In between, a five-month internship has confirmed what she’s been doing here at Clarkson. “I’m excited about where I’m headed,” she remarks. “I’m on the right path.”
That path began in earnest with a first-year business course led by Marc Compeau, instructor of consumer and organizational studies.
“It all goes back to freshman year and his class,” Fisher says. “He had all of the business students get together that first week, and he said, ‘Alright, think of a problem and make it a business.’”
The result was Campus Cuts, an on-campus hair salon for students who didn’t know the local salon scene. “We were pretty successful,” Fisher recalls. “But what I really loved was the whole aspect of identifying something that people need, and meeting that need.”
Marc Compeau, Instructor of Consumer and Organizational Studies
Compeau asked Fisher in her sophomore year to mentor the new first-year business class, and she was hooked. “To share my experience, give advice and see them so passionate — it was so fulfilling. I wanted to continue that and wondered, does this kind of job actually exist somewhere?”
She was asking that again after completing the first year of her master’s program (as a Clarkson women’s lacrosse coach, too, Fisher opted to complete her advanced degree in two years rather than one). “I knew that during that summer, I wanted to get in somewhere and into something that aligned with my career goals. At which point Compeau said, ‘I think I might have somebody for you.’ So I went to his office, and he called up Jon, and next thing I know we’re having a conversation, and about a month later, I was hired.”
“Jon” is Clarkson alumnus Jonathan Parry ’07, director of GENIUS NY, the in-residence business competition accelerator hosted at The Tech Garden in Syracuse. Teams working on innovations in unmanned systems (e.g., drones) vie for nearly $3 million in funding, making the competition among the largest of its kind across the globe.
During her internship, Fisher worked with one of the teams on their business that offers certification classes for people who operate drones. They wanted to expand their services into colleges and universities across the country. “OK, let me see what I can do,” Fisher told the group, before compiling a list of the most-likely 200-plus schools that would be interested in what they were selling. “They were able to close deals off that list I created,” she recalls. “It was a really awesome feeling, contributing to their business, taking it to the next level.”
Fisher also was able to zero in on what she will be looking for after graduation.
“I loved the culture itself,” she says of GENIUS NY. “You’re dealing with new businesses, new issues and solutions. And everyone is so supportive. There’s a mindset of ‘bring on the challenges, no matter what, we’ll work together as a team and work through them.’”
She was also struck by how her Clarkson education had prepared her for the internship.
“One thing that really stuck out — I knew what people were talking about on the job and saw them applying exactly what I learned here at Clarkson to make their business operations better inside and out. All this wasn’t just an exercise!”
“Our first-year experience gives students a platform to discover strengths and interests in a more focused area of business,” Compeau explains. “Applying that discovery to an internship that has real impact helps us to create a very marketable graduate. Mallory is the perfect example of a student who is following that path.”
Alumnus Parry concurs. "Mallory was a valuable addition to our team at The Tech Garden and GENIUS NY. Her ability to accomplish tasks with very little oversight and her strong communication skills are exactly what employers are looking for," he said. "It would be great to have her back in Syracuse after graduation. Individuals like Mallory are the ones that we want to keep in Upstate New York because they will become the leaders of our community in the future.”
Building Job Skills
Internships and co-ops provide students with all-important, real work experience before they graduate. Clarkson students can aim for more than 450 potential internships or co-ops in some of the most popular career fields.
Out of the 79% of students reporting for 2016-2017, 83% had an internship or co-op and 15% of them found long term employment with the company they worked for, after graduation.
Our alumni are heavily involved in networking, mentoring, and recruiting our students. They start early, participating in each freshman class’s first-year seminar and helping them develop, build and run a new business.
And they don’t stop there: nearly 50% of the business representatives who attend the fall and spring career fairs are alumni who are committed to seeing Clarkson students succeed.